Friday, 9 October 2020

Project Fino Update: Idle Loop


Another update to Project Fino. 

I decided to continue using the Fino model I've made and work on creating animations, but quickly ran into some problems with my 3DS Max License since I'm not in university anymore. It doesn't look like there is anything I can do about it, and I rendered the little I did in the time I had left. An Idle animation that I haven't had a chance to look over.

Without 3DS Max I'm not going to be able to continue Project Fino for now, and it's going to be very hard to work on anything else since 3DS Max is my most proficient software. This is a chance for me to try out and learn other software though, and the first that comes to mind is Blender considering it is free and open-source. It would let me make my own assets while keeping ownership of them or using them commercially. 

For now though, with the world and how the Corona Virus has affected it, it's hard to bring myself to work properly. The last few updates for Project Fino took me a long time to work on, and my own work ethic has slowed down a lot. I'm hoping that things get better and the world can start moving again soon.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Project Fino Update: Completed Skin

After a bit of a break with everything going on, and applying to jobs again, I've decided to work on my own projects again as well. I've come back to Fino again and finished up the skinning, then found myself switching between texturing, skinning and even modelling again to try and make Fino look better.

She has an updated texture for her face, most noticeably the lips to make it easier to tell where her mouth is, which was becoming more of a problem. The first picture in the last post shows how hard it was to see where her mouth was.

*Note that Blogger has changed it's Post format, so the images below may be displayed differently to previous posts

I smoothed out some places like the shoulders which had some issues when the collarbone was rotated to more extreme angles and the jaw, which was very different due to the structure of an anime style 3D head.
I made a quick metal pipe prop and put her in a few poses to try out the rig below: 

She still needs a facial rig to give her expressions, and I want to improve some parts of her model and textures, especially the hair which only has plain colours, and her eyes which feels sort of boring? I'm not too sure, but it just doesn't fit with the model for me. The two things that are on my mind right now are that I've been on this project for a long time now, and that trying to make the improvements above would move away from rigging and animation, which is what I should be focusing on. 

What I'm considering right now is: 

  1. Creating a facial rig, letting her talk and show expressions
  2. Creating animations using Fino to put on my website, from basic cycles like walking to more action based animations
  3. Pausing work on Fino, and working on a different project more focused on games design

I have an idea in mind for the last one, and if it gets far it would lead to making my own game, which is what I want I've always wanted. To create video games. 

The first two however would be better for my website when it comes to applying for rigging and animation jobs, and it has been a while since I've uploaded any animations to my website. I've been waiting for Dead Pixels Season 2, among some other things I worked on, to come out and to display on my website, but it looks like with Corona Virus it's been delayed until further notice. 

For now I'll consider my options and see what I work on next.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Project Fino Update: Rigging and Skinning

It's been a while, but finally an update to Fino.
I decided to try and get things moving by speeding along. I've been on this little project for too long now, and need to stop hesitating. That said, I've still taken a long time to finally put up an update, something I need to work on.

Other than some small tweaks on textures with the arms and shoulder armour, I decided on a basic texture for the eyes and hair. The eyes are a fairly undetailed texture using large blocks of colour for a sort of overall "Faded" look, while the hair I struggled with a lot before deciding on a very basic "Colour for each strand" approach. It's not the best, but I've never been much of a texturer.

I've finally been able to work on Rigging, the focus of what I've been doing at Keyframe Studios. It's been a while though, with most of the work I did at the end of my time at Keyframe Studios focusing on Animation and some scene composition. 

One of the things I've learned to do is form the CAT Rig around the model, most notably the legs and waist, but also the spine fitting to Fino's body. I also added bones for her teeth in case I want to try a different kind of smile, and a small bone for her nose if I need to animate Fino sniffing.

I don't think I'm quite finished with the CAT Rig here yet, I've been unsure about the lower body the most with how the thighs move compared to the waist, though this is always a difficult area to work with.

Finally I've got a test of the Rig so far, only using 3DS Max's Voxel Solver. At first glance, Fino looks pretty good here, other than obvious problems like the armour bending. The pose itself isn't too extreme though, and I didn't pose any intricate parts like the fingers or any of the facial features. 

I'm still shaky on the upper legs and how they bend around the pelvis though, and how close the shorts come up to the belly. Another part of the model I'm thinking of reconsidering is the shirt or vest, with how the open areas of the shirt move with the body. Not only does the bra I've used still look strange on Fino, I'm thinking how something like her arms would interact with the shirt, or how to animate the shirt moving. This is something I've had to consider before, and I've thought about using something in Unreal Engine 4 to simulate it, but I'm wondering how much simpler it would be to have full control in one Rig rather than use multiple programs. I plan to spend some time looking at this again, but if there are any changes I don't see them affecting the CAT Rig too much.

Monday, 6 April 2020

An end to my job at Keyframe Studios

My job as Junior Rigging Artist and 3D Animator at Keyframe Studios ended at the end of March, and I've been relaxing at home the past few days.
The second season of Dead Pixels is expected to be released soon, with some potential of a third season later. Unfortunately I can't show any of the work I've worked on until it's released, so it's going to be a challenge trying to apply for jobs, even more so with the Corona Virus right now. For now I can list links to Dead Pixels for people to look at or watch, though the animation between the two seasons are noticeably different.

Channel 4 Website:
IMDb Website:

There were some talks about a third season of Dead Pixels, and that I might be asked to work on rigging and animation again, but for now I will be searching for and applying to jobs, this time with some experience in hand.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

A small update: 3D Animator

Another update on me and my job.
My role as Junior Rigging Artist for Keyframe Studios was originally supposed to end at the end of January, but when I applied for the job I also expressed an interest in a 3D Animator job they were also advertising. I didn't get the 3D Animator job, but near the end of my Junior Rigging Artist contract I was given some animation work as well as some scene composition work. After showing what I could do, they offered me an extended contract as a 3D Animator which I accepted.

I'm at a similar position as my last post where my contract will be ending soon, and it looks unlikely that I will have my contract extended again, but this job has already been so much more than I thought it would be. I hope to be able to show what I worked on in my CV and on this website soon.
I will be looking for a new job again soon, but this time with experience in the industry. I hadn't thought about it until writing this post, but I really can call myself a real 3D Animator now, not just a title on a CV or resume anymore.